We hear of various planning permission obstructions to farmers all over the country, for no apparent reasonable reason.

We hear of farmer and livestock bashing daily, with little balance or proportional debate.

Often, it’s the inequality that angers farmers when they see what’s happening in other parts of the world.

Processing facility

This week, we learned about Mengniu setting up a facility to cater for the milk from a 100,000-cow dairy unit.

Mengniu is one of the better-known Chinese dairy companies.

We understand construction has started on this large-scale processing facility, which will cost about €520m and will cover an area of about 870 hectares - that’s about 2,150 acres of buildings.

The facility will take the milk of about 40,000 dairy farmers. This milk will be produced from feed imported into China.

Carbon leakage

Carbon leakage is a term often used when describing the movement of methane from dairy and beef production when milk or beef is not produced in one country, but produced in another country that might be less efficient.

This week, we learned the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) is being used to equalise the price of carbon between domestic and imported products. However, the mechanism is only being used on certain products.

Those exporting into the EU will be required to buy carbon certs that will correspond to the carbon price that would have been paid if the goods were produced under the EU carbon pricing rules.

The mechanism is to apply to iron, steel, cement, fertiliser, aluminium and electricity generation from 2023 - not milk.

So dairy farming can continue to move to areas that might be environmentally less efficient, financially less efficient and less sustainable.

Storage rewards

Meanwhile, Irish dairy farmers are listening to whispers from politicians on carbon storage rewards, but no plan or vision is in place on how it might work.

Companies are being set up to trade carbon credits or collect slurry from farmers, with farmers the pawns between success and failure.

Why can’t farmers own, run and drive this for themselves? Where’s the next Horace Plunkett to drive this for farmers?

Read more

How is the EU planning to reduce carbon leakage?